Dissecting the Disquels Finale – The Ultimate Disquel Rankings List!

To cap off Dissecting the Disquels, I have decided to make a finalized rankings list of all of the movies in the set. Now, you might think that, since all of the movies have been reviewed with number ratings, that the list should be easy enough to sort out, but that really isn’t the case. Considering I’ve been sitting on these reviews for years, as many as seven years for a few of them, I found myself seeing some of the entries in a different light for a variety of reasons, and that made their places on the list either higher or lower as a result.

Here’s what I was focused on.

Overall Quality – this is basically the initial number rating I gave to the movie.

Memorability – How much I remember the movie now and how memorable I found it upon watching it.

Entertainment Value – How much fun I had watching it.

Original Respect/Disrespect – How much it disrespected the original movie OR if it displayed particular notes of respect for the original. I’ll be gauging this via positive or negative ratings.

Rewatch Desire – Not really rewatchability, as in if you’d get any benefit from watching it again, but moreso whether I WANT to rewatch it.

With those factors in mind, let’s finally rank all of the Disquels!

Going from best to worst;

1 – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Part One | Part Two)

I don’t think there’s anything more I can say about this movie that I haven’t already said. It is, by far, the best Disquel and a fitting followup to one of my favorite movies ever, The Lion King. It doesn’t surpass its predecessor, but it is still a very good movie on its own with great characters, an amazing soundtrack and an awesome villain. This is what all of the Disquels should have aspired to be, but, alas, that obviously didn’t happen.

Overall Quality – 8.5/10

Memorability – 9/10

Entertainment Value – 9/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 While it does do the original justice and doesn’t really disrespect anything directly, the massive chasm between the original movie and the sequel’s plot is way too noticeable. There’s just too much left unexplained……

…..THE OTHER LION WAS GOLD AND MALE, GUYS. GOLD AND MALE. Where did he go!?

Disney:

Rewatch Desire – 9.5/10

2 – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (The Little Mermaid 3)

I decided Ariel’s Beginning would get second place because, while it is very much neck and neck with my third place choice, I just felt like Ariel’s Beginning had more substance and reason to exist. It allowed us to better understand why Triton was the way he was about humans, and it introduced us to Ariel’s mom for…a few minutes.

Plus, it’s a very entertaining movie that never really annoyed me at any point, and I still love Benjamin. It suffers from having a very weak villain and a deja vu plot, but it still stands up well enough on its own.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 8/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +7 Their biggest sin here was, despite having a movie celebrating music and how important it is to both undersea life/mermaids and, well, the movie series as a whole, the original soundtrack is very much lacking and that’s greatly disappointing. Plus, while Ariel’s mom was in the movie, it was very, very briefly.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

3 – Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

The big surprise of the whole set of Disquels was definitely Cinderella III. The original movie didn’t call for a two let alone a three, and two was awful, so how good could a third be? Quite good, bafflingly enough. It has a very appealing style to it, it’s entertaining, charming and funny, it gave Cinderella some agency and it fleshed out the relationship between her and the prince more than the original or the second movie ever did.

This movie doesn’t have much of a reason to exist, is all, and it doesn’t change the status quo at the end, which is understandable because it’s a time travel movie. It shifted focus to Anastasia, which continues to be a confusing choice to me, but works well enough. She’s a good person now, having gone through a legit redemption arc this time, but doesn’t get her own love interest in the end, which is both welcome because that’s cliché and a bit confusing because where’s the damn baker from the second movie? He was a normal dude, looking normal and doing a normal job, and he really Disney-loved her. He would’ve been perfect for her to end up with. It would’ve been easy to work him in. Make him the royal baker or something. Come on.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 7.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I’m keeping this one neutral because, technically, this movie is doing the ultimate disrespect to the first movie by basically erasing it from ever happening. However, like I said, I liked what they replaced it with, so…..People will probably argue this one, but I’m keeping this where it is.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

4 – Bambi II

This is another movie that can sorta justify its existence, but didn’t really need to be made. Bambi II tells the story of Bambi’s life after his mother died but before he grew into a buck, being raised by the Great Prince of the Forest, which is an interesting enough premise. Being a midquel, it suffers from midquel predictability in that we know everyone will survive and nothing too impacting will happen, and it doesn’t, but it’s an enjoyable cute little movie that I liked so much that, in the review, I said it would’ve taken second place in my list of Disquel rankings. It’s not a must-see movie or anything, but I’d recommend any Bambi fan give it a watch.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6.5/10

Entertainment Value – 7/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 It didn’t really do anything to mar the original, and it provided us with a look into a stronger bond between Bambi and the Great Prince. Kinda makes the original’s ending even more impacting.

Rewatch Desire – 7/10

5Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch

Lilo and Stitch was the last Disney classic to get the Disquel treatment, and it somehow managed to get the most Disquels with three movies – Lilo and Stitch 2, Stitch! The Movie and Leroy and Stitch. Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch, was the lowest rated out of all of them, but looking back I feel like I have maintained more of an appreciation for this movie slightly above the others. I just think the actual premise, Stitch going crazy due to a glitch, could’ve been done better. They don’t go far enough with him going ‘bad’ and the conflict was poorly handled since Jumba and Pleakley literally could have cleared everything up in a sentence but chose not to.

However, we do get more about Lilo’s mom, we get some really heartwarming moments, there’s some nice music, and out of all of Lilo and Stitch’s Disquels, this is the one I’d most want to watch again.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Mostly neutral here. They do some things to respect the original movie and nothing to really disrespect it outside of maybe Lilo being a bit too harsh with Stitch when she’s always been understanding of him and should have known something was wrong instead of just believing he had gone bad again.

Rewatch Desire6/10

6 – Leroy and Stitch

The finale of the Lilo and Stitch universe….barring the anime versions…Leroy and Stitch is about Dr. Hamsterviel using a new experiment made by Jumba, named Leroy, who is basically another more powerful Stitch, to destroy all 625 of Stitch’s cousins. This is a very fitting finale to the entire franchise. It has a great epic battle, it properly reforms 625 and has him team up with Lilo, and it ties up quite a few loose ends. However, when I really thought back on it, I realized I didn’t really remember much of the movie beyond the ending battle and the resolution with the concert. Also, I didn’t feel as much of a desire to rewatch it as I did with Lilo and Stitch 2. It was a close call here, and it’s a good movie, but Leroy and Stitch just squeaks out a little lower.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 They remembered every single experiment outlined in the show and gave names to those who never appeared. They also resolved several storylines and fixed some issues, but I don’t agree with some of the resolutions such as the endings with Mertle and Gantu. Those seemed rushed and undeserving. Also, while I understand why they couldn’t do this, and this is barely a decimal against them, they never did show all 626 experiments after building a TV show based on the premise of reforming every single experiment. Disney had their idiotic 65 episode rule at this point, so they basically went into the series knowing they’d never cover anywhere near that many experiments, but they still dangled that carrot in front of us.

Rewatch Desire5/10

7Return to Neverland (Peter Pan 2)

As I mentioned in my review, Peter Pan wasn’t a beloved Disney classic to me. I just didn’t get into it much, and I always kinda hated Tinkerbell. This entry is one of those movies where it’s just…’fine.’ It’s a fine movie. I didn’t gain much from it. I didn’t lose much from it. It’s fine. I definitely give this movie props for having the balls to have its setting be World War Freakin’ II and having the main plotline with the main character, Jane, daughter of Wendy, be her sacrificing her childhood because of World War Freakin’ II and trying to recapture it with Peter, but other than that it’s a lot of ‘fine.’

Also, I still can’t stop rolling my eyes at the fact that they replaced the alligator with an octopus who makes a popping noise all the time. That was just dumb.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 They do very much respect the original movie by showing how much of an impact Peter had on Wendy’s life and how much he still means to her, and I don’t think they do anything to really disrespect the original much. I just wish Peter and Wendy had more interaction besides that brief moment in the end. Also, we never get any information on where Wendy’s brothers are.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

8 – Stitch! The Movie

I rated this movie higher than Lilo and Stitch 2, but when I was finding a place for it on this list I realized I only barely remember anything about this movie. I remember Stitch feeling like he doesn’t belong….again, and Sparky existing, but that’s about it. Stitch! The Movie is certainly a good intro to Lilo and Stitch the Series, but, looking back on it, I’m not sure I have as much respect for it as a Disquel because, if the series didn’t exist, this movie would just be leading into a giant hole. Likewise, Leroy and Stitch is entirely reliant on the TV series too. If you didn’t watch the series beforehand, you’d be a little lost as to what’s going on in the movie. I’m just imagining someone watching all of the Lilo and Stitch Disquels without realizing there’s a TV show and being horrendously confused.

That being said, the movie isn’t bad by any means, but it lost quite a few spots in the rankings as time went on.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +3 While they did sort of retcon the original a little by having Stitch lost on his place in the world when that was a pretty good chunk of the first movie, it’s made up for by keeping the original spirit alive in introducing us to Stitch’s cousins.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

9 – Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

There was a whole lot of potential with this Disquel. The Emperor’s New Groove is a fantastic, memorable and very funny movie. A spin-off with Kronk could have worked very well. However, this movie tries to go in so many directions that it ends up going nowhere. It tries so, so hard to be the first movie, but it also tries to be its own thing, and it also tries to follow Disquel formulas while maintaining the ENG style. It’s just too much. And lest we forget that this is one of those three-segmented ‘movies’ that is part of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection. There was some fun to be had here. It’s self-aware, it has a good sense of humor and the story is slightly workable, but it’s cliché as all hell.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I feel like I should leave this neutral. It almost goes overboard with how much it references the original and tries to replicate it, but on the other hand it’s also trying to repackage the first movie and resell you something else (A Kronk TV series that was never made, although ENG did get a Disquel TV series that was centered on Kuzco again) and that’s pretty disrespectful.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

10Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure

I found that, over time, I actually enjoyed this movie more than I first thought. I’ve seen this movie several times at this point, and…I’d watch it again in a heartbeat. Which is weird, because there’s not that much to this movie. It’s a very simple and predictable plot, but…for some reason that works with me? This movie’s problems mostly lie in its Disquelisms (Kid of original main character basically does the first movie in reverse) being very predictable, having an annoying lead character and having a forgettable antagonist who just doesn’t work.

So why do I find myself enjoying the movie whenever I put it on and having a desire to watch it again in the future?….It’s enjoyable and relaxing. The soundtrack’s good with some of the most memorable and well-made lyrical songs of the Disquels. I still sing ‘A World Without Fences’ to myself on occasion….I dunno, I just like it, which is especially weird considering, as I mentioned in the review, I have no attachment to the original movie.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this neutral because I honestly don’t remember enough about the original movie to say anything either way. They do introduce a new character who was supposedly very important to Tramp’s life and whom he ‘betrayed’ when Tramp left to live with Lady, but he never appeared in the original movie. It’s a very Zira-esque situation. But I’m not sure that counts as disrespect. Moreso laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 6/10

11 – The Lion King 1 ½

How did TLK2 rank so high but TLK 1 ½ doesn’t even get top ten? Well, because, again, looking back on it, this movie didn’t stick with me much. I remember most of it, but nothing stood out as being particularly impacting or funny. And it’s a damn shame that a TLK Disquel is so far down because, as I’ve mentioned, TLK is one of my favorite movies. A midquel with Timon and Pumbaa could have worked so much better than this. They skimped on the stuff with Simba, which is what most people wanted to see, Timon and Pumbaa’s first meeting was lame, and I will never forgive them for that stupid fart joke during the presentation ceremony. That still makes me angry. It’s relatively fine, and could’ve been a lot worse – I did give it a pretty decent overall score – but after mulling it over I can’t find it within myself to put it any higher than eleven.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -5 I can’t not dock it off for the presentation fart thing. I’m sorry. I thought I’d just get over that, and when I reached this point that wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but nope…it’s just too stupid and disrespectful to one of the most memorable and awesome moments in Disney movies. I also REALLY didn’t care for the montage of them trying to sabotage Nala and Simba’s budding romance during ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ However, credit where credit is due, they do otherwise respect the original quite well and even make some pretty decent jokes about key scenes in the movie.

Rewatch Desire – 4/10

12Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Aladdin 3)

Yeah, I was surprised I put this so far down the list too considering I gave it a 7.5. I was just re-reading my review of it and I suddenly had the realization that I never wanted to watch the movie again. I mentioned I had watched it once before the review rewatch, and….yeah, that’s enough. It has pretty decent quality as a Disquel, some good action, and it FINALLY closes out the series proper by marrying Aladdin and Jasmine and showing us what happened to Aladdin’s father, but there’s nothing to really draw me into wanting to watch it again.

I can’t remember any of the songs now, except a short part of ‘There’s a Party in Agrabah,’ the comedy just isn’t there, despite finally getting Robin Williams back as Genie, and that’s because they, for some reason, rely very, very heavily on Disney references, and any drama about Aladdin’s dad is pretty blah once you’ve seen the movie once. I do recommend any Aladdin fan see this movie at least once because it’s definitely worth that price of admission, but beyond that…eh.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Pretty benign here. They do respect the original by finally holding Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding (though, again, I’d SWEAR they were married at the end of the first movie. It plays off so much like they’re married.) and they don’t really do anything to disrespect the original movie outside of Genie not having a purpose or being funny. I almost feel like Robin Williams was given no room to improvise like he was in the first movie. There are so many Disney references that it just has to be Disney shoving the script down his throat.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

13The Return of Jafar (Aladdin 2)

One of the very first Disquels and one that many people seem to hold dear to their heart, myself included a little, The Return of Jafar is alright but just not that strong story-wise. You’d think the return of Jafar, one of the most threatening Disney villains, would warrant a bit more excitement but…pbbt. Most of the movie is made up of redeeming Iago, which is fine but not really all that much of a hook, if you ask me. The fact that Jafar was also technically beaten by Iago is a little on the corny side. It was nice to give him a good scene like that, but it’s just kinda lame.

Couple with that a very corny but just alright-ish mostly soundtrack and animation that is only up to TV standards, plus a Robin William-less Genie and it’s just a bit of a mess. I might feel like watching this movie again in the future, but it’s much less memorable and entertaining than I remembered it being back when I was a kid.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 Jafar’s a bit of an idiot in this movie, far removed from what he was originally. His main drive is to become a free genie, but he realizes that free genies have much less power than bound ones, soooo….The tone and style are also much schmaltzier than the original. It never commits any big sins against the original, but it also doesn’t really give any good sendups to it either.

Rewatch Desire – 3.5/10

14The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

When I think of Disquelisms, I always think of TLM2. It is such an unabashed example of the Disquel tropes, it’s actually quite sad. Main character the original main character’s kid? Check. The original movie in reverse? Check. The villain basically being a discount version of the original’s villain? Check. Throw some nonsensical plot threads, some of the worst comic relief sidekicks I’ve ever seen (that are also complete rip-offs of Timon and Pumbaa) and a mediocre to near cringey soundtrack into the mix and this movie just………..

FLOUNDERED! 😀

The only real redeeming factors are that Melody’s an alright character, she had better motivations than Ariel did in the first movie, Ariel herself actually has character development in this movie, and the production values are pretty good for a Disquel. I have a tiny bit of nostalgic fondness for this movie, but I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again. There’s just nothing there to really warrant it.

Overall Quality – 5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this one neutral because, outside of introducing Ursula’s never mentioned before sister, they don’t do anything one way or another. I can’t say copy-pasting the original movie and reversing it is really respect and not laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

15Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World

Ahhhh….Pocahontas 2….This one of those situations where I can’t say much more beyond ‘They shouldn’t have even tried.’ This was a lose-lose situation out the gate. People were complaining about how historically inaccurate the original movie was to the true story and how kinda creepy it was to pair up real adult man John Smith with real 12 year old child girl Pocahontas and how disrespectful it was to basically make Native Americans magic and bunch of other stuff, so they tried to make a sequel closer to the original story and more grounded….and it just culminated in people yelling ‘WHO CARES ABOUT HISTORICAL ACCURACY?! MY OTP WAS DESTROYED!! :’(’

The movie, on its own, is quite fine, and, as someone who doesn’t give a duck in a bucket about Pocahontas and John Smith’s relationship, I’m also fine with her going off into the sunset with John Rolfe (who did marry her in real life.) People act like John Rolfe was super boring, but, got news for ya, so is John Smith. As for the movie itself….it’s fine. There’s just not a lot to sink your teeth into and it’s not all that memorable. It does have some funny moments, though, and it tied up several loose ends. It’s very much a lot of ‘fine.’

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – ???? I just bailed on this one because I’m not touching it. One side would argue that it commits the most deplorable of wrongs to the original by splitting up Pocahontas and John Smith in lieu of her being with Rolfe, but another would say it actually does more respect to the original historical story by a mile, and continues on with the themes they were trying to get across in the end of the first movie by having Pocahontas attempt to strengthen relations between the Native Americans and the English settlers. Make your own judgment call here.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

16 – 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure

This movie was fun and a relaxing watch, but it really wasn’t memorable at all. Nothing all that interesting happened, Patch isn’t that memorable of a main character, and the plot is predictable. Plus, it’s a little depressing that it’s perfectly understandable for Patch to feel like just another face in a sea of puppies, but to have the climax basically being that his family never does realize he’s missing on their own and they have to find out by seeing his picture in the paper…it’s really just sad. I can’t imagine how hard it is to try and spread yourself so thin that you have to assure 99 puppies that they’re loved equally, but still. In the end, though, there’s nothing terribly wrong with the movie – it’s just that there’s nothing terribly right with it either.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Might as well stay on the neutral path here. Is there even anything from the original to really lend respect to? Not to say the original’s  a bad film, but it’s mostly lacking substance in story and characters. It’s still a cute movie about puppies, so there ya go.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

17 – Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

This one I didn’t rate that bad. However, as Christmas approaches I tend to think of movies/specials etc. that I’d like to watch over the holiday season, and as I was looking over my review of this movie I didn’t even think about considering this one. I also didn’t really remember much of it, either. I remembered Tim Curry as Forte, but as for the actual story, I was pretty much at a loss. Christmas was involved, I think. Looking back, I did enjoy myself a little watching this movie, and despite remembering none of the songs now, apparently they were decent, so I’ll give it points for that, but the movie no longer registers in my mind past, present or future.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -1 Doesn’t do anything terribly wrong, that I remember, but it introduces two servant characters who never appeared in the original movie, despite being a midquel, and the criticism of Belle shifting from only liking the Beast when he makes steps to improve himself on his own to seeing him as a project is warranted. Granted, Beast was still trying to improve himself anyway.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

18 – The Jungle Book 2

I criticized this movie quite a bit for being boring, and, yeah, I still feel that way. I remember more about this movie than I do Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, but not by much. And I think one of the reasons I remember it more is because, for a short while, I was fairly into the two original songs they made for the soundtrack. The art and animation are pretty darn good, and so is the voice acting, but the writing is cliché, the characters’ decisions are very questionable, even though I realize that they’re children, and not much happens over the entire movie. They brought back Shere Khan to dick around for an hour before making his move and then he just ends up getting thwarted rather easily. Not to mention the little bit I’ll get to in the respect section.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -6 The ending of this movie completely reverses the message of the first movie. Mowgli was a human child who needed to live a human life. It was safer, it provided more avenues for life fulfillment and happiness, and it was what he ultimately chose. It was a bittersweet reality somewhat akin to The Fox and the Hound. But this movie was like ‘Aw, dat sad. Let me fix it.’ So now the jungle is perfectly safe for children to traverse just because they defeated one tiger, and Mowgli, Shanti, Baloo and Bagheera can live together in harmony. No need to swallow any harsh truths here, folks. I get that some people probably liked this ending, and Disney is all about making unrealistically happy endings, but still. They made one ending that was pretty perfect – stick to it. Show Baloo and Bagheera checking up on Mowgli every now and then or something, but don’t reverse everything…

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

19Tarzan and Jane

Unlike several Disquels that pretended they were legitimate sequels when they were just backdooring a pilot for a TV series, whether or not it got made, this movie changes that up by….repackaging the last few episodes of a TV series that did get made and created some bookends for the stories so it could pretend to be a new movie….Now, I didn’t give this ‘movie’ too much flak despite being…not good, because it did have a few genuinely funny or entertaining moments. However, I can’t help but think of the people who are Tarzan fans who watched the TV series and would be massively disappointed to grab this movie thinking it’s new material when 97% of it isn’t….It’s really sneaky advertising, it’s unfair to the fans, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hence why, despite the slightly higher ratings, I actually put this one below The Jungle Book 2.

Overall Quality – I gave this movie two ratings; one based on if you’ve seen the series, which was 1/10 and one for if you haven’t, which was 4/10. I was going to split the difference, but I think I’ll just leave it as two ratings.

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I can’t really think of anything they did in either direction. Maybe the fact that Jane and her father can seemingly speak to animals now, without a lick of explanation as to why and how this is possible (Tarzan can do it because he was raised by them) but that’s probably just something they glazed over in the show itself so they could include all of the animals in the show without it being difficult with Jane and her father.

Rewatch Desire2/10

20Brother Bear 2

Everyone gets a girlfriend. That is this entire movie. Everyone gets a girlfriend. Brother Bear never had a romantic plotline, so they made up for that in spades here. But it was a story centered on brotherhood. It doesn’t need a romantic plotline. It wasn’t ‘missing’ one so much as it didn’t need one, and it would’ve been detriment to the story to try and include one.

As a result, Brother Bear 2 ends up being less about brotherhood (Sitka never shows up, neither does Denahi, and Kenai’s relationship with Koda is now coated in a lot of jealousy and Kenai neglecting Koda.) As I said, it could’ve been worse, and it’s harmless on its own, but this was a purely unnecessary movie that doesn’t do much of anything either. There’s no big lesson learned or anything, it’s the same ‘*gasp* I realized I loved my childhood friend all along!’ plotline you’ve seen a hundred times. Nita’s also not that interesting in the slightest – she doesn’t even make much sense. I’m still not really angry with this movie, despite being a fan of the original, and it does have a few moments that are genuinely good, but its existence is a little insulting just on the basis of ‘GIV EVRY1 A GURLFREND!1’ and I can’t see myself ever watching it again.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -3 They half-disrespected the themes of the original movie. Brotherhood is still a theme, but it takes a backseat to the romance aspect. And much of the brotherhood stuff, even with Rutt and Tuke, is slathered in jealousy and neglect. While I did say that I understood omitting Denahi from appearing because his voice actor passed away, it’s disrespectful to not, ya know, mention him or anything. And there’s no excuse for not including Sitka at all.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

21Tarzan 2

Goddamn, this movie is boring. And it’s making the situation worse for itself by being a midquel, meaning we know none of this matters anyway. It’s not even exploring anything interesting during the middle of the original movie. It’s literally just what Tarzan was doing during the ‘Son of Man’ segment….and we saw that. So they had to make up some dumb plotline where the ultimate lesson was…be yourself….*sigh* The only redeeming thing in this movie is the song ‘Who Am I’ because it’s pretty catchy and well-made. Also, they did get Phil Collins back for this, which is cool. Otherwise, there is not a single reason to watch this movie.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 It doesn’t do anything, so it can’t do much in this aspect. It does maintain Tarzan and Kala’s sweet relationship and brings back Phil Collins and some of his music, though that might be because he was a big pull in the original movie, but the storyline and placement of this movie makes no sense when you think about it and kinda messes up the story flow of the first movie.

Rewatch Desire – 0.5/10

22Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

Hey, do you want to see a solid hour of Cinderella planning parties? No? Well, apparently, Disney thinks you do. Cinderella 2 is another movie in the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection, and it was the first Disquel I ever reviewed. It is very boring. It is very stupid. Much of it doesn’t even make sense.

I have no clue why they thought a Cinderella TV show would work in the first place. It’s clear they didn’t think much of it working either because, as I mentioned, Cinderella does nothing but plan parties the whole time. The final segment where a somewhat reformed Anastasia is trying to find love with the baker dude is the only somewhat memorable-ish and decent-ish thing about the movie, and that was retconned. We don’t even see Anastasia actually get reformed in this movie, which might be a decent tale, as we see in Cinderella III. We’re just suddenly supposed to sympathize with her because Cinderella got her happily ever after and she didn’t. Boo hoo.

Overall Quality – 2/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 The movie does mostly nothing of note in the first place, but it reforms an antagonist from the original movie with no reason given as to how or why (At least with Iago in Aladdin 2 they showed him connecting with the characters and slowly lightening up.) but that’s not too bad because reforming Anastasia can actually work. It’s not like they were irredeemable people, besides Bitch – they were just egotistical jerks. I also got the slightest bit insulted in the first segment where Cinderella was actually complaining about her cushy new life as a princess after being magically rescued from an abusive household….

Rewatch Desire – 1.5/10

23Atlantis: Milo’s Return

Entry #37462B-46 of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection….I really liked the original Atlantis: The Lost Empire. I think it’s a slept-on classic. Not the best in the world, but still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It also didn’t warrant a sequel at all. It was a very contained story. But here we are with a sequel that was planning on spawning a sequel TV series that never happened.

This movie’s not completely terrible, but it’s also not good. I have no desire to ever watch it again, and I barely remember anything about it.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -7 I will give it props for keeping basically everyone in character, but this movie did the original dirty when Kida decided it would be oh so intelligent to raise Atlantis to surface level and merge her culture with that of the surface world….all to have material for a TV series that never happened.

They sugarcoat it by pretending everything will be all well and good and everyone will live together in peace, but bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. They knew that at the end of the first movie, which is why the crew lied about Atlantis when they returned home. Hell, they knew what a terrible idea this was in THIS movie because the only reason there was any conflict on land was because the power of the Atlantean artifacts was causing all sorts of problems on the surface world. Kida risked the safety and well-being of her entire culture, one her late father entrusted to her, one that barely avoided destruction via a surface-dweller mere months prior….because the writers needed a convenient method of making stories for a TV show….that never even happened. Bite me.

Rewatch Desire – 1/10

24Mulan 2

Second verse, same as the first! Now with an asshole dragon! Yup, another movie where they thought ‘Hmm, the original movie didn’t have much romance. Let’s fix that by making the sequel obnoxiously about romance.’ This is such an unnecessary pile of crap. They made Mulan boring and inert, they gave the boys three perfectly suited for each of them princess love interests, they basically made Mulan and Shang’s relationship look bad and like it would probably never last, and they made Mushu into a selfish dumbass who hurts Mulan and tries to break her and Shang up all because he wants to keep being pampered by the other ancestors (who are waiting on him hand and foot for no reason. Also, despite being an asshole the whole movie, he ends up still getting pampered by the other ancestors…) There’s no antagonist, there’s barely a conflict and the barely conflict is fixed via stupidity and tired as hell cliche. As someone who absolutely loved the original Mulan, this movie can rot in a garbage can.

Overall Quality – 2.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 About the only thing this movie respects about the original is the ‘be true to your heart’ thing. Otherwise, Mulan’s a boring sack of dull. Not to mention that Mulan’s pretty focused on love here and even has a couple ‘squeeing’ moments. She battles once very briefly against no-name bandits, but who cares? Also, she needs to be saved by Shang from a marriage she doesn’t want.

Any message against sexism is pretty much null and void because the boys still want girls who suit their every desire and wait on them, and that’s what they get. They do push a message of not forcing people to marry, but I’ve seen some people complain that that message is disrespectful to Chinese culture in regards to arranged marriages because it’s western culture trying to force their views on them, and I get that.

Shang’s being a prick, Mushu’s being a bigger prick and it rewards him for it. Feh. There is one good dramatic moment during Shang’s death fakeout, which actually felt reminiscent of the original movie, but that’s about it.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

25 – Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World

If you thought trying to make Cinderella into a TV show was a stupid idea that would never work, wait until you hear that Disney was trying to make a TV series as a midquel for Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a long time since I watched this movie, and I still can’t believe that was a plan. Squeeze out seasons worth of material in one or two months, at absolutely most, of a gap in the middle of the original movie. Yikes. The stories and songs here are basically as uninteresting and unmemorable as Cinderella 2, now with less animation quality. As a midquel, we know how everything turns out anyway, especially in the plots that involve strife between Belle and Beast. This movie and pilot idea couldn’t be more pointless.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – – 3 Beast is just a crazy person in this movie. His attitude is much worse and flip-floppy than in the original movie. Belle is similarly worsened as she becomes slightly childish in her fights with him. The biggest offense this movie commits is really just having the gall to claim all of this happened in a little tiny time frame in the original movie – and all because they don’t have any ideas for Belle and Bea—Adam after the transformation back to normal. They legitimately could have gone for the child-of-previous-main-characters shtick and it would’ve worked a lot better than either movie, to be honest (as long as they did it well, of course.)

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

26 – The Fox and the Hound 2

Thinking about this movie gives me a headache. If there’s one thing I can say for a decent chunk of the Disquels it’s that you can easily identify them as being sequels to the original movie. This movie is so bland and boring and listless and forgettable and so far divorced from what the original movie was that if I explained the full plot to you without mentioning either character’s name (or saying ‘fox’ and ‘hound’) that you’d never believe this plot was a sequ—excuse me, midquel to The Fox and the Hound.

And yes, as if the terrible story and several degrees of separation from the original’s tone, message and pretty much everything weren’t enough, this is a midquel so it’s super pointless to watch this, not to mention depressing. Like, yeah, kids, enjoy watching this cute little friendship withstand a hardship just to eventually realize that they’ll be forced apart by the norms of nature and society as adults! The only good thing I could ever say about this movie is that the music was okay, but as of this moment I can’t even remember any of the music either. It is more than deserving of the runner-up…or runner-down spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1.5/10

Memorability – 1/10

Entertainment Value – 1.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 As if everything I already said wasn’t bad enough, they also tried to imply that Widow Tweed and Amos were going to be romantically linked, which, uh, no. No….And no.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

27 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

And the winner of the bottom spot of this ranking list is none other than The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 – or as I like to call it ‘Pain in Movie Form.’ There is nothing this movie did right. Nothing. Not as a movie, not as a Disquel, not as a use for thousands of VHS tapes….Nothing. The art and animation is terrible. The music makes my insides self-immolate. The story is stupid, doesn’t make sense, and the overall message is ridiculously simple and one that was already gone over in the first movie. And it’s one of those stupid ‘someone didn’t get a love interest in the last movie. Gotta give them one now’ plots.

The new girl, whose name I don’t even remember, is literally just a constructed love interest for Quasi because he didn’t get Esmeralda in the end. She’s so boring and one note that it’s actually impressive. I don’t even want to acknowledge that the joke of ‘villain’ even exists. It’s hard to follow Frollo as it is, but they didn’t even try. No no, it was more like they were told to try even less than they intended on trying. Why this movie dares to exist is a mystery I still have yet to solve, and it is more than deserving of the bottom spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – .5/10 Just for the little kids.

Original Respect/Disrespect

Rewatch Desire0/10

And that finally, completely finishes off Dissecting the Disquels. It’s been a long and bumpy road with some nice detours along the way, but all g–….things must come to an end.

But fear not. Despite the Disquel movies being done, we still have work to do. There’s still Disquels TV shows to explore and……We’ll have to tackle….the live-action reboots. I am scared.


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Animating Halloween: The Addams Family (2019) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky – The Addams Family! *snap snap*

Breakdown: The Addams’ Family has always been a well-respected and awesome franchise. I used to love watching the old TV show, and I am fan of the movies that came out in the 90s. They’re a very cool and creepy family who were never ashamed of who they were. They embraced their creepiness and owned it, and we loved them for it. So when I first saw the trailer for an animated movie, I was actually looking forward to it. The trailer looked fairly promising, and what better time to check out an Addams’ Family reboot than for Animating Halloween?

They definitely went into this movie having a lot of respect for the franchise. While they obviously modernize things and add some stuff, especially considering the freedom that animation provides them, they make a lot of references to the original series, even including the always beloved theme song in the trailers and the movie itself a few times, and they keep pretty much everything in line with what it has always been.

Gomez and Morticia Addams are dreadfully in love, but their family has always been hated and feared by others because of their dark and grotesque manner of living. They adore all things dreary, dirty, horrifying and gruesome, and they have supernatural friends and abilities, to a degree. They’re always playfully doing risky and harmful things in their trap-ridden haunted mansion, but underneath all of the death and destruction, there lies a family that is just as close and loving, if not moreso, than your average family.

In this movie, Gomez and Morticia are driven away again, during their wedding no less, by an angry mob. Morticia wishes for a normal life for her future children. They run over their future butler, Lurch, who is a runaway from the nearby abandoned asylum, and adopt the creepy haunted asylum as home sweet home.

Thirteen years later, Gomez and Morticia have two young children – the oldest, Wednesday, and the youngest, Pugsley. They’ve all been confined to the foggy mansion ever since they arrived because their parents were worried about their safety, so their lives are shaken when the fog lifts and reveals a nearby brightly colored, pristine perfect-person town called Assimilation, where, as you would probably guess, everyone is the same pearl-clutching bland ‘normal’ person who puts on fake smiles and goes overboard being positive and ‘accepting’ when they’re really anything but.

They go just a tiny bit too far with the depiction of these people. I get that it’s supposed to be a parody of those squeaky clean white collar neighborhoods full of stuck up snobs, but it’s a little too blatant. For instance, there’s some pep squad team thing and they sing a song that sounds like a cult that’s not even trying. “What’s so great about being yourself when you can be like everyone else? It’s easy to be happy when you have no choice.”

Enter the giant-bouncy-haired plastic-faced Margaux, who literally created the town of Assimilation. She hosts a home remodeling show, and her biggest project was fixing up an entire town and filling it with happy homeowners. When the Addams’ creepy mansion on the hill is revealed through the lifting fog, she tries to turn their house into another one of the clean, bright and sparkly houses in Assimilation because no one will want to move or stay in the town with a scary house visible in the distance. The Addams’ gladly accept her offer, but are forced to ultimately decline because they have the entire family coming over in the next two weeks and don’t have the time for her remodeling.

Margaux is not as she seems on the surface, however. She secretly installed cameras in all of the remodeled houses of Assimilation, and she frequently pretends to be other people on her neighborhood community app, Neighborhood Peeps, to spread harmful rumors about others so they’ll fall in line or the others in town will force them to leave.

Wednesday, however, is intrigued by the town and the normal people since she has never been outside of the mansion’s grounds. She soon attends the local school and befriends Parker, the daughter of Margaux. She’s a social media obsessed girl who wants her mother’s attention, but also resents that she forces her into the happy peppy pastel coated world her mother has fabricated. She finds Wednesday weird and frightening at first, but comes to respect and like her when she stands up against her bully.

Wednesday slowly starts adopting more colorful clothing styles and branches out more into the ‘normal’ world, while Parker gains the confidence to wear goth/punk styled clothing to rebel against her mother. In Wednesday’s situation, it’s kinda confusing. She expresses that she’s actually disappointed her mother was accepting of her new colorful look, but when she becomes more unaccepting of it, Wednesday runs away to live with Parker. She does treasure her freedom, so maybe she just disliked her mother controlling her more than she liked her anger.

It’s also kinda weird on Morticia’s end. She was the one concerned about her children living a safe and (ab)normal life, but when Wednesday is starting to be accepted by the outside world, she resists against it firmly. I get that a good part of it is Wednesday starting to pull away from her as well, but much of it is reacting to the stuff she’s doing.

When Wednesday goes to Parker’s house, they accidentally find Margaux’s weird lair, much to Parker’s surprise and disgust. Margaux catches them and locks them in the attic so they won’t mess up her plans to drive the Addams out of town so she can destroy their house.

Meanwhile, in plot B, Gomez is trying to prepare Pugsley for his Mazurka, which, in this case, is a very long and complicated dance with a saber that every Addams boy must complete in order to gain the respect of the family and formerly enter manhood. Above all else, though, it’s symbolic of the boy’s ability and drive to protect the family from anyone who would harm them.

Pugsley isn’t doing well with his practice. He’s more of a demolitions kid than a swordfighter, but this Mazurka is a big event. The family is gathering for the first time in thirteen years to see it, and Gomez, an avid swordfighter, put on one of the best Mazurka performances in the family. Puglsey tries his best, but he simply can’t get it down, much to Gomez’s disappointment.

You really feel bad for Pugsley because, even though he doesn’t much care about the Mazurka, he’s still trying his best and working hard to make his dad proud, and it’s just not working out.

The two plots collide when the extended Addams family finally arrives in town for the Mazurka, right as Margaux’s TV show is filming its season finale. Margaux has already planted the seeds in Assimilation to rally the townsfolk against them all, and once the family arrives, they become an all-out angry mob lead by Margaux.

And, ya know, much in same vein as how Arnold’s Halloween tends to get under my skin a little because of how believable it is for a group of idiots to nearly hurt or murder a bunch of kids because they believe they’re aliens, even if these townspeople are overly done, it’s also not outside of the realm of possibility for a town of bubbled up posers to be stirred into an angry mob, even in modern times, and actually attack a family to drive them out based on rumors and being afraid of others for being different. Especially in New Jersey.

Granted, yeah, the Addams family do cause actual harm to others sometimes, though typically not on screen, but they didn’t do anything to the townsfolk besides be weird. In fact, many of them were quite kind and polite to them.

Parker and Wednesday see what she’s about to do from the window, so Wednesday breaks them out of the room to go save her family.

Pugsley, predictably, does poorly in his Mazurka. He apologizes to Gomez for letting him down, but Gomez apologizes for not supporting him and letting him be himself. Just as the Mazurka finishes, Margaux and the townsfolk start slinging boulders through the mansion with a catapult. Gomez asks Pugsley to remember the true meaning of the Mazurka – protecting the family. Gomez hands him one of his bombs and tells Pugsley to go out and do what he does best.

Pugsley does indeed get to strut his stuff with his precious bombs, fighting off the slue of boulders being flung through the walls and protecting the family, but eventually he runs out of bombs before they run out of boulders and it seems like it’s the end of the Addams’ family. In the nick of time, however, Wednesday shows up and uses Icabod, the living tree, to save everyone from the collapsing house. Morticia and Wednesday reunite and make up.

Thing happens to have one bomb up his slee–….Uhm….Anyway, Thing throws the bomb to Pugsley, he blows up the catapult and finishes his own brand of Mazurka.

In a rather sad scene, Gomez reiterates something Morticia said earlier – people can be cruel. As the townsfolk see the Addams’ are just people like them – people that they’ve frightened, attacked and nearly murdered – the citizens realize that THEY were the real monsters all along. Dun dun dunnnn.

Margaux, however, doesn’t see it that way, even after Parker sides with the Addamses. She is completely adamant in destroying their house and making Assimilation and her season finale perfect no matter what. She tries to get the townsfolk back to what they were doing, but Wednesday reveals to them all of Margaux’s hidden cameras in the houses of Assimilation. Even after being ousted, Margaux still doesn’t care about what the townsfolk think. They’re just extras in her show to her, and she won’t let even them come against her.

Parker reveals that none of this matters anyway because she’s been streaming her mother’s tirade since the start. Millions of people have been watching the real Margaux Needler, and it’s caused such a backlash online that her show was immediately canceled. However, she still has a bunch of houses she needs to sell. In comes Fester with his pitch to sell the rest of the houses to the Addams family so they can all live nearby each other.

The townsfolk all offer to help fix up the Addams’ house, melding their ‘normal’ style with the rough gothic chic of the Addams (Although, this gets reverted back to the full dark, dank motif after the spirit haunting the place returns after fleeing from the attack.) Fester not only teams up with Margaux to make a realty company, but he also starts dating her…..which…I found to really unrealistic. I mean, I guess he does love her for the monster she is, but why she would love him back I do not know. Margaux did not have a redemption arc at all. She was horrible from start to finish…and not in the fun way. I’m not sure I like that she was given a happy-ish ending after all that.

Back at the mansion, the family honors Pugsley’s Mazurka and officially commemorates him as a true Addams.

Cousin Itt takes their family picture, and the movie ends with a pretty cool remake of the original 1964 opening theme song sequence of the TV show. I actually checked and did a side by side comparison. They did the entire sequence shot by shot exactly, they even mimicked slight body language like Morticia’s little smile on her second snap and Gomez’s deep breath and side smirk. That was really cool of them.

However….it is kinda ruined when the credits come in and it’s a colorfully animated sequence with a hip hop song behind it….I have nothing against the song itself, it’s actually pretty good if you ask me, but it doesn’t belong in an Addams Family movie…

Overall, it’s a pretty good movie on its own and a much better sendup to an old franchise than a LOT of other reboots and remakes. I found myself laughing several times and smiling through a good chunk of the movie.

There were some bothersome intrusions like I still find it kinda hard to get used to all the modern updates in reboots like this. For instance, the townsfolk were holding up their phones with an app running that showed a torch instead of them actually using torches. I also got very thrown off when they had a segment where Lurch suddenly sings ‘Everybody Hurts’ by REM in a far higher tone than his normal voice as they had a montage of Morticia, Wednesday, Gomez and Pugsley all dealing with their problems in the midway point. What the hell even was that?

There was also another hip-hop song that played when Cousin Itt arrived. He pulled up in a limo and had fancy shoes and a pimp cane and it was playing him up so much. I get it. Cousin Itt is a beloved character and he hadn’t been in most of the movie, so why not make his entrance grandiose? Still, it felt a bit weird. You know what’s also weird? Snoop Dog ‘voices’ Cousin Itt…..Yeah…I…don’t know why either.

The absolute ending was a bit rushed, in my opinion. Like I already said, Margaux’s redemption was not earned in the slightest, not to mention that she suddenly started accepting these ‘freaks’ just because she was able to sell houses to them. The reunion and make up scene between Morticia and Wednesday just kinda fizzled. And they somehow managed to not properly wrap up an ending to a particularly important character.

Anyone notice that I explained the entire ending without mentioning Parker? What the hell happened to her? I had to rewatch the ending to see if she was even shown. She was. She was filming Pugsley’s final ceremony, but she wasn’t even centered in the shot – it was focused on Wednesday giving an approving nod to her brother. Did she make up with her mom? I doubt it. They never show them interacting after Parker literally destroyed her mother’s career. Where does Parker go from here? Is she going to go live with her dad (her parents are divorced), is she going to stay with the Addamses or what? What was the conclusion to her character arc anyway?

Is The Addams Family perfect? No. But given the absolute trash that we’ve had to wade through in regards to reboots and remakes over the past couple of decades, I know for a fact that they could’ve done so, so, so much worse.

They respected the franchise very well, they kept nearly every facet of the original series, though some information was more taken from the ‘90s movies, they added their own spin on it without being too bothersome with the updates and changes, and they managed to do all of that while still being pretty clever, funny, endearing and likable. They even made me give a crap about Pugsley, and I honestly never cared about him in any incarnation.

The art and animation are very stylized, and it works quite well with the Addams Family motif. And the music, while having some questionable tracks, is still really good. The voice acting was also done well. Allison Janney owned her role as Margaux. I think this would be a really good watch, especially around Halloween, for fans of the franchise and for newcomers.

Recommended Audience: This is obviously a bit dark, being The Addams Family, but there was no point where I’d ever consider shielding a child’s eyes from it. The point where I got the most weirded out was when Morticia used the ashes of her parents as eye shadow and blush. That’s about it. 7+

Final Notes: A sequel is being released on Halloween 2021. I’m looking forward to it, and will probably review it, whether for Animating Halloween or otherwise.

Screenshots Courtesy of cap-that.com.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Wander Over Yonder

Plot: The ever-happy Wander and his trusty steed, Sylvia, explore the outreaches of space and save its inhabitants from the treachery of Lord Hater.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, even though I had heard a lot of great things about this show, I went into this with unease. At face value, this series has a lot of trademarks of two other popular shows I’ve reviewed that I either hated (The Mighty B!) or just didn’t mesh with (Mighty Magiswords). And those trademarks, again at face value, were randomness being mistaken for comedy and louder=funnier, I guess.

I was really worried that Wander Over Yonder would just be another one of those shows, even if it was created by Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends creator, Craig McCracken.

However, to my surprise and delight, it didn’t turn out that way. Yes, Wander Over Yonder is very bouncy and quick, but it’s melded with a lot of clever humor, very likable characters and voice acting that is both fitting and doesn’t grate on the nerves. When I heard Wander ‘s voice, I was very shocked. It’s a rather normal voice, though obviously inflected to be cartoony and peppy a bit. Usually, the main characters in shows like this have high-pitched overly exaggerated torture device voices, but Wander, voiced by Jack McBrayer, is perfectly fine to listen to.

Speaking of sounds, however, there are some instances in this first episode where I honestly can’t make out what they’re saying, especially Hater’s minions who continuously chant something I can’t make out. Even when Wander repeats it, I can’t understand what he’s saying. It really sounds like ‘Tastes great, less filling.’ but I sincerely doubt that’s it.

The music is a nice change of pace, being of a more country style without being super western. It’s very catchy and easy on the ears.

The art is pretty unique, and the art coupled with the animation is an interesting amalgamation of Dr. Suess, old 1920’s animation and modern styles. It’s very cool, even if some shots are a little jarring.

As for how this episode works as an introduction, it’s pretty good. We don’t learn of Wander’s background or anything, but we learn a great deal of who he is, who Sylvia is, who Hater is and how their dynamic will largely play out. We also begin to get attached to these characters and get a relatively good grasp on their world all in an impressive time frame of 11 minutes.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Wander Over Yonder is certainly a great example of how to do the classic fun bouncy style of cartoon correctly. It kept putting a smile on my face and I can see it being one of those feel-good shows I watch whenever I need a lift in my spirit. The only sad aspect of this is that Wander Over Yonder was canceled after two seasons, despite the massively positive reception. Another one of those shows where I missed out on something great while it was still around.


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AVAHS – Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: In a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, Daffy Duck, owner of the Lucky Duck Superstore, treats his employees and everyone else like garbage. He’s especially unsympathetic around Christmas. All he loves is money, money and sometimes he has a soft spot in his heart for money. On the night of Christmas Eve, after destroying the Christmas dreams of all of his employees and forcing them to come into work at 5AM Christmas morning, he finds himself stuck in his store for the night. Three ghostly guests will take this opportunity to try and salvage his soul and his Christmas spirit.

Breakdown: It wouldn’t be Christmas without yet another retelling of A Christmas Carol – This time with the Looney Tunes!

In this universe, Daffy Duck takes the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge, but none of the characters, besides the ghosts, are named after the characters in the original tale, so he’s just Daffy. He’s filthy rich and the owner of a massive superstore called Lucky Duck. Daffy is basically a slave driver here, somehow worse than Scrooge if you ask me. He’s greedy, yes, but at least Scrooge let his employees take Christmas off, even if it pissed him off.

Daffy refuses to let Marvin have time off to go home to Mars for Christmas, he won’t give Porky enough money to buy a doll for his daughter, he won’t let Wile E. Coyote eat during work and he somehow wasn’t arrested for forcing Elmer to work 37 straight triple shifts, causing him to constantly collapse in exhaustion.

And as a topping on the Scrooge cake, he’s not only forcing all of his employees to work through Christmas, but he’s opening the store at 5AM and demands they all be there.

As you can guess, this prompts the appearance of the four ghosts – Sylvester, who takes the role of Jacob Marley, named Sylvester the Investor, who was a fellow CEO of another superstore who died because of a disgruntled exployee, Granny and Tweety – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Yosemite Sam – The Ghost of Christmas Present, and Taz – The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

AVAHS - Bah Humduck 1

I really thought they’d balk on the more tender moments of the story since it’s Looney Tunes and all, but they technically didn’t. I say ‘technically’ because they still load up the stories with typical Looney Tunes humor and cut out some stuff, but the tender moments were still quite sweet.

The backstory is changed quite a bit, and most of the segments are fairly short. In the Past segment, we see that Daffy was an orphan and, for some dumb reason, they always had mass adoptions on Christmas day, like people nabbing up kittens and puppies for Christmas gifts, and Daffy was never adopted. He never had a family, and he grew up to resent Christmas as a result. I’d think the mass Christmas adoption spree would be a better reason to hate Christmas, but I understand that it’s purely the fact that he was always alone that really soured his disposition over time.

In the Present segment, we see Elmer nearly freezing to death as he falls asleep in a snow storm, Marvin looking up to Mars with longing and Porky talking with his young daughter, Priscilla, who is basically sugar incarnate. Literally all she wants for Christmas is a Pretty Pudgy Piggy doll, but Porky can’t afford it.

In Yet to Come, we see Porky and Priscilla visiting Daffy’s grave. This segment is, morbidly, the best of them all because Daffy is so greedy he tried to leave his store to himself in his will, which was obviously impossible, so the store shut down, causing everyone to be laid off. We also have one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen with Priscilla leaving a plate of Christmas cookies at Daffy’s grave, stating she’ll visit him every year on Christmas because she knows how painful it is to be alone during the holidays (since her dad works on them due to Daffy) and Christmas is the one time of year when everyone’s family.

This isn’t even tainted by the not subtle implication that she believes Daffy’s in HELL. I actually burst out laughing at that.

AVAHS - Bah Humduck 2

Daffy’s, of course, a changed duck after that, giving everyone exactly what they wanted for Christmas and much more. And everyone, including Daffy, had a very merry Christmas.

I fairly like this spin on A Christmas Carol. It’s predictable, sure, and I think they spend a little too long on the first half and not quite enough time with the ghosts, but that’s not too bad. What they rewrote was more appropriate for Looney Tunes while also being fairly sad and sweet.

Daffy’s backstory was probably the laziest, though. They have a messed up message as a result, too. One message keeps popping up in this movie and that’s that Daffy is such a terrible person because he never had a family. That’s obviously a very wrong and insulting message to any orphan in existence. They try to offset it by having the other message be that Christmas is the one time of year where everyone’s family, but that obviously wasn’t true when he was a little duck and I’m not sure having a family one day a year would save you from becoming an ass.

Friends are also brought up, which is very important as friends can be a surrogate family, but they mostly focus on Daffy’s lack of family.

His backstory is entirely different from Scrooge’s. Scrooge was a nice enough child, but had a very harsh and strict father who sent him off to boarding school. Scrooge’s one shining light in his life back then was his sister, Fan, who tragically died giving birth to her child, Fred. Several years later, he enjoyed Christmas while working for his kind and fun boss, Mr. Fezziwig, where he met and fell in love with a woman named Belle. A Christmas a few years later showed her leaving him because he was more preoccupied with his money than he was with her.

I’m obviously not expecting some intricately woven backstory by Looney Tunes, and you definitely don’t have to follow the source material to a T, but saying that Daffy is such a greedy grouch just because he was a lonely orphan is a little screwed up.

Bugs’ role here was also quite odd. You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Bugs this whole time, and I’m sad to say that Bugs was entirely pointless here. He just kinda pops in and out of scenes during the non-ghost parts. He berates Daffy for being a grinch and performs his regular physical comedy shtick. That’s it. He didn’t even really have an actual role. He wasn’t affected at all by the events of the movie. He was locked in the store with Daffy, but that’s about it. I think there’s a major misstep somewhere in production if you can’t figure out what to do with Bugs Bunny.

They say he’s supposed to be a Fred-like character, but I don’t really see it to be honest.

AVAHS - Bah Humduck 3

Some might complain about Priscilla being a rather washed Tiny Tim replacement. She’s not sick or handicapped and she doesn’t die in the bleak future – the only thing that hinges on Daffy turning good is whether she gets a pig doll or not. However, I found this change to be perfectly fine. I liked Priscilla a lot and she brought just as much sweetness to this movie as Tim did.

The art and animation are very good for a direct-to-dvd title, especially one over a decade old. There are some hiccups here and there, but the artwork is very well-detailed, the colors pop and the Looney Tunes move the way you expect them to move. There’s a lot of energy here, and I really like it.

One problem I do have is that everything feels so empty. You have this story taking place in a very successful and supposedly busy superstore and yet only Bugs and Penelope (The cat Pepe constantly harasses) are seen as actual customers. I kept wondering if the store was actually open until Bugs said he was shopping there. Where is everyone?

The music was also really good – again, better than you think you’d get for direct-to-DVD – but there were some times when the sound mixing was a bit off. Several times I thought a musical number was about to begin because the music seemed grand and was getting louder and louder over important parts, but there are no musical numbers to be had.

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable Christmas movie. Not gut-busting hilarious but still fairly funny and heartwarming. Being another A Christmas Carol adaptation, it’s obviously very predictable, and what changes they make tend to hurt the story more than improve it, except maybe Priscilla, but it’s still pretty good.


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CSBS – Rocket Power Episode 3: Otto 3000/Night Prowler

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 3 1

Plot: Otto 3000 – After breaking his snowboard while qualifying in a big competition, Otto sells out to a massive conglomerate, Sno-Mart.

Night Prowlers – Lars challenges Otto and the others to a hockey game. The only hitch is, it’s set to be at midnight. Otto accepts on behalf of everyone, but there will be big trouble if they’re caught.

Breakdown: Otto 3000 – This episode is really dumb. I try to avoid starting reviews with watered down statements like that, but it’s true.

First and foremost, this episode is framed as a documentary Twister made on the events of the episode – which is just Otto partaking in a snowboarding competition. Twister films literally everything they do all the time, and they compete in a lot of things so why Twister decided to make a documentary about this one, I have no idea. It makes even less sense because Otto is eliminated. Did he really turn this into a documentary because of Otto’s brief family drama? Can you even call what happened drama?

The reason I bring this up is because I found the documentary aspect to be a lazy way of getting information out since they all do that reality-show-esque testimonial thing where they talk to the camera about things that happened along the way.

Not only that, but Twister’s cheap and, quite frankly, poor manner of filming and editing makes this whole episode really annoying to watch. I can see how it’d be charming, but for someone so obsessed with film, Twister’s sure not good at making videos. He doesn’t even seem to have a video editor capable of making title cards, which is something even free video editors provide. Instead, he opts to hold up literal title cards with his friends doing the same when their testimonials come up.

Second, the conflict, if you can even call it that, is stupid.

Otto’s partaking in a snowboarding competition, but his board somehow manages to snap in half when he very lightly crashes into Twister after his qualifier. They take it to a repair shop, but the price to fix the board is outrageous – $175. Just for fun, I looked up how much snowboards cost, and you can easily get one for $150-175 at cheapest with some of the more expensive ones being between $300-600.

And that’s in modern money. Adjusting for inflation from 1999, roughly, that same $175 would be more like around $275 now, so Otto could’ve gotten a fairly decent board for the same price of fixing his cheap one.

Raymundo isn’t having any of that, so he decides to fix the board himself. But he sucks at making repairs and thinks a board slapped together with instant epoxy and duct tape will still work. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t. Otto can’t even get the board to move, which means he’s basically screwed for the competition.

In comes, I’m not making this name up, Dick Shakely – CEO of Sno-Mart, a popular franchise snow sporting goods store. He wants to sponsor Otto and give him a fancy new snowboard – The Phantom 3000, which they even renamed immediately to the Otto 3000 once he accepts the offer.

Otto immediately sells out, decking himself out in Sno-Mart gear. He’s jazzed about the competition now, but Reggie’s livid because he’s usually sponsored by Rocket Boards, the business Raymundo owns.

This made me double-take because I had to question if Raymundo sells snowboards. As far as I know, he only sells surfboards and surfing equipment in the same building as the Shore Shack. And if Rocket Boards really did sell snowboards, why did Raymundo not have the ability to immediately get Otto a new board or pack a backup? Why does he suck so much at repairing snowboards when he supposedly sells them?

The short answer is, because he doesn’t sell snowboards or the like. As far as I’ve researched, he only sells surfboards, which makes sense because he lives in Ocean Shores where they rarely, if ever, get snow.

It seems Reggie’s just angry, and Raymundo’s just disappointed, because Otto dropped Rocket Boards as a sponsor in lieu of a big corporation like Sno-Mart. He chose money over family. But, truth be told, Rocket Boards is a really shitty sponsor if they won’t provide Otto with enough money to repair or replace his board so he can, ya know, actually compete in the event he needs sponsorship in.

Otto’s right – he did need a board. He couldn’t compete with the one Raymundo ‘fixed’ – it literally would not move. It was either drop out or join Sno-Mart.

Besides, if Otto’s goal in life is to become a professional in any extreme sports circuit, he’ll need other sponsors besides Rocket Boards eventually.

The way that Otto ‘learns his lesson’ is also very lame. Sno-Mart loads him up with so much gear that he can’t move well enough to snowboard without wiping out, which makes Dick angry, because bad performers sponsored by Sno-Mart make the company look bad, which is understandable. Otto gets fed up with it, so he sheds all of his Sno-Mart gear and rejoins Rocket Boards, with one very important difference I’ll address in a second.

The only reason Otto gives up Sno-Mart is because they made him wear too much stuff. I don’t understand why he didn’t just shed his underlayers and keep boarding. There’s absolutely no point in wearing the other stuff unless it’s visible. That’s kinda the point of sponsorships. They pay you to wear their logo and endorse their stuff so their logo and stuff can get more exposure on the back of someone prolific. The other crap he’s wearing underneath can easily be removed since no one can see that stuff.

In addition, he had absolutely no issues moving before Dick gave him that one jacket. He even performed a very complex trick off a huge ramp with ease with all of that gear on. They threw this flimsy development together just to get to the resolution.

It’s like they had the bare bones of a plot here: Otto gives up his family business’ sponsorship and sells out -> learns it’s not what it’s cracked up to be or he gets mistreated or something because he’s just another faceless billboard to them -> Compete with the Rocket Board sponsorship proudly again. But when it came to the details they got ridiculously lazy.

Speaking of the third part of that plot – Otto does indeed go back to wearing the Rocket Boards logo again when he takes his first run of the event.

Oh dear, though. He has no snowboard because his old one is unusable and his new one is courtesy of Sno-Mart, meaning he’s still technically shilling for them if he uses it.

Well, the solution to that problem is simple. Ignore it, and just have him use the Otto 3000, not realizing that it completely defeats the purpose of his sponsorship change.

Yay.

Dick takes the board back, but only after Otto’s run, which he fails because he wiped out.

And Otto learned a very important lesson – His father’s a cheap-ass sponsor who was basically complacent with his son losing this competition by default because he didn’t want to pay for either a cheap replacement board or to get repairs on his snapped one, and he’s happy when his son basically cheats a free snowboard out of a company, even to just use it once, just because grrr big company bad.

Also, Otto learned that he does not possess the ability to remove excess layers of clothing unless he learns the very lazy barely-there non-moral of the episode.

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 3 2

Night Prowlers – Luckily, this episode is much better with funnier jokes and a better moral, but it’s, overall, quite boring.

The kids, barring Otto, approach the idea of going out at midnight very realistically. They do want to go, but they know their parents will freak if they find out, so they’re hesitant. Even Twister needs to sit on the idea before he agrees.

The episode is more about actually going out at midnight than it is about the game, which makes sense because the game never happens. Lars shows up, and is somehow the only one who thought to bring a flashlight. His teammates, however, bailed because they didn’t want to get in trouble. Since Lars has no team, Otto and the others win by default.

The cops show up right then, however, and Lars gets away, which I thought was BS. The worst one of the group and the one who started this mess gets off scot-free? Give me a break.

When they get home, Otto willingly takes all of the punishment because he was the one responsible for agreeing to this in the first place. I guess, despite not living there, Twister and Sam are also allowed to walk away with Otto taking the blame. I don’t know why Officer Shirley dropped all of the kids off at Raymundo’s, especially when they specifically have a scene where the officers are asking where the kids live. That was probably for the sake of wrapping up the ending, but it’s still rushed and makes no sense, especially considering the kids live very close to each other.

The punishment, by the way, is garbage duty for three weeks, which is a far cry from the ‘grounded until you’re my age’ punishment he said they’d get if he ever caught them out late at night.

The best part of this whole episode was, oddly, in the equally as boring B-plot. Stimpleton is performing a stakeout to catch a night prowler, hence the title. The night prowler is literally moving his lawn furniture by like an inch. I don’t get why Stimpleton wouldn’t do the intelligent thing and just buy a security camera. His house is so ridiculously automated, I’m surprised he doesn’t already have such a security system.

Anyway, it was Mrs. Stimpleton skinny dipping. Yup. I probably got more amusement out of that than I should have, but it was a pretty funny twist.

Oh and just to highlight how boring this episode is, you know that thing I mentioned before where Rocket Power will take a word or line, usually slang, and make an animated X-TREEM title card to exaggerate the word or phrase? (Which will henceforth be referred to as X-TREEM title cards.) They did it a few times in Otto 3000, but only once here. Guess what they used it for.

….Stimpleton slurping his coffee…….in an X-TREEM WAY!…I guess.

Ratings:

Otto 3000 – 1/10

Night Prowler – 5/10

Next episode….

…Previous Episode

AVAHS – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer Review

Rating: 1/10

Plot: Following the story of the popular novelty Christmas song (not really), this movie follows a boy named Jake Spankenheimer as he tries to figure out what happened to his grandma one fateful Christmas morning.

Breakdown: *deep breath*

*sigh*

I knew this day would come.

Gather ‘round, children. Let me tell you the story of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, both the movie and the song.

The year was 1978 – veterinarian Dr. Elmo Shroshire, known as Dr. Elmo, and his wife Patsy, who are a folk singing duo as a hobby, get an offer to sing a new unique Christmas song by writer Randy Brooks.

That song was Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

After it was picked up by a radio station in 1979, it enjoyed modest success in other local radio stations for a while, and year after year it would spread to more stations in more states. In 1982, after finding quick success in mass producing a quarter of a million copies of the song, Dr. Elmo sold his veterinary hospital to pay for a music video (Which is kinda terrible when you think about it. Yeah, why save the lives of innocent animals when you can make a music video about a silly redneck Christmas song?)

A year later it was picked up by MTV and history was made.

Annoying history.

Even though popularity for this song had a steady pace upward since the early 80s, I feel like it didn’t hit its peak until the mid 90s. I remember my dad listening to this song for the first time with me, and we both found it to be fairly funny and enjoyable. My family was fairly redneckish for northeastern yankees, particularly my camo-lovin’ hunter dad (he refers to himself as a redneck so I promise this isn’t a jab to him.) so we enjoyed the song for quite some time.

But then it was like the radio stations were playing it after every other song when the holidays rolled around. Christmas songs are well-known for oversaturation, which is one of the reasons why retail store employees quickly grow to loathe them, but something was different about Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

First of all, it’s an earworm. If you hear it once during your day, congratulations, because your brain radio will now play the chorus on loop no matter your cries for mercy for a random, but always long, period of time.

Second of all, it’s an earworm, which means you’ll either be humming or singing it a lot, and you can’t not look like an idiot singing this song.

The song was so popular that in 2000 it spawned an animated version. I wish I was kidding. But hey, you know you’ve really made it as a beloved Christmas song when you have an animated special made about it. Even Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You was made into an animated special. Again, I wish I was kidding. (I tried to get through it last year for AVAHS, but it’s dreadfully boring…)

Before I get into that, though, let’s talk about the story of the song. It’s pretty self-explanatory even with just the title. Grandma is the victim of a hit-and-run with Santa at the helm. Grandma’s corpse is found outside of her grandson’s house the next morning, and despite Santa being guilty of negligent homicide and fleeing from the scene of an accident, he’s neither pursued by authorities or given punishment for his actions because no one believes in Santa. And apparently Santa’s such an amoral bastard that he never turns himself in or cares that he murdered an elderly woman.

The rest of the song is the family mourning her death and, according to Dr. Elmo himself, implications that Grandpa is rather happy that his wife is dead. Also, a warning to everyone to beware on Christmas because Santa’s a crazy driver who already got away with murder once.

Now, you may be thinking that I don’t need to go over the movie since I just explained the song full out.

Nope. Because that is one of the core of the problems for the movie.

If you thought the story of the song sounded way too short for a special, you’re not alone. In fact, most Christmas songs don’t have stories long enough to fill a movie, which is why most of them pad the run time with new plots and characters. This song is rather unique however in that it not only needed be ridiculously stretched out (Grandma doesn’t even get run over until 15 minutes into this 50 minute long movie) but they needed to basically make an entirely new story from scratch to make an actual movie.

What’s even worse is that they must have thought the actual song was too dark in tone and subject matter to make a kid’s movie about it because two major things are changed – Grandma doesn’t die and Santa was not responsible for the accident.

I’m of the mind that if you think a song is too raunchy/dark/mature etc. to make a kid’s show about it, maybe don’t make a kid’s show about it. It’s like Kids Bop and their complete scrubbing of any song they cover so they can have songs that were originally not appropriate for kids at all to be kid-friendly. Because, gosh, it’s not like kids who enjoy the song would ever seek out the original version, which is probably readily available on Youtube, Spotify, Pandora or one of many other music services.

Even so, you’d probably think that’s par for the course for a kid’s special. It’s no big deal. Well, it kinda is when they play the song over the movie and clearly show that what’s happening on screen is not happening in the song.

It’s almost like they expect you to not pay attention to the lyrics as the song is playing, but it’s a comedy song. If there’s one type of song where you’re really supposed to pay attention to the lyrics, it’s a comedy song. Otherwise it’s not a comedy song, it’s just a song.

They had an out to not follow the song’s story and they purposely put the song over the scenes to point out how they don’t match. Why!?

You may be wondering why I just spent two pages talking about all of this….Well, quite frankly….I’m stalling because I really don’t want to watch this movie again.

Alright, let’s get into it.

————————————

The movie starts with the title card and the song you expect to be playing when ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ is front and center on the screen…..Jingle Bells!….Okie dokie. I should mention that this special is also littered with other songs written and performed by Dr. Elmo, so why they randomly threw Jingle Bells at the start makes even less sense. I guess the melody of the main song sounds quite a bit like Jingle Bells, so maybe that’s it, but still it’s weird.

Speaking of Dr. Elmo, he not only provided several songs for the movie (whether made for the movie specifically or otherwise) but he’s also the narrator, the voice of Grandpa and he co-wrote it. Give the guy some credit, no matter if you love or hate this song, the guy seems to find genuine enjoyment in his work and is pretty proud of it.

Once the animation actually starts, we see Grandma getting run over by Santa’s reindeer (This is a flash forward, so my comment earlier still sticks.) and somehow she didn’t spill a drop of her drink.

Our narrator decides to flash back a bit to explain how we got here. In the bustling city of Cityville, because the Powerpuff Girls didn’t want this to take place in the city of Townsville, it’s the holiday season, and Grandma’s store is busier than ever. She also has a sign that says ‘Store time’ for some reason.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 1

Grandma is nuts about Christmas. Her store is filled with Christmas goodies, and she loves reading to the kiddies while their parents are off shopping. Enter child version of the narrator, Jake….Jake Spankenheimer. I’m convinced they had a competition to see who could come up with the stupidest last name imaginable….

Jake is warning Grandma that cousin Mel is chasing away another customer. Just because it’s way too subtle and my sarcasm doesn’t carry over into text, let me just get this out of the way – MEL IS A BAD PERSON.

However, this instance is kinda strange because….she’s not wrong. A woman is trying to walk out of the store with a gingerbread house without paying for it and Mel is trying to stop her from shoplifting. Grandma comes and pardons her, claiming her credit is always good there and she can pay her next time she gets a paycheck.

From what I can tell, this woman just waltzed into the store, grabbed a gingerbread house and left without telling anyone. Even if the owner knows you and is willing to pardon the purchase, that’s still wrong. You go and ask someone beforehand, because otherwise how will they even know you took it? It’s like having a tab open in a bar and, when no one’s looking, going behind the bar to make yourself a drink and leaving with the drink.

Mel, however, is less angry about moral integrity and more angry about Grandma’s business practices. She views her as too lax and is concerned that they’ll never get rich unless she shapes up. Grandma, however, doesn’t care about being rich. She just wants to live a happy life being nice to people.

Later, in Jake’s room.

Daphne: “Adding to your Christmas wish list?”

Jake: *sigh* “Sisters…”

…….What? What does being a sister have to do with wondering if you’re adding stuff to your Christmas list?

Jake still believes in Santa, but his sister mocks him for it and his parents seem to be at that point where they believe they should slowly reveal the truth to him.

His dad comes home with an inflatable Christmas tree, which disappoints Jake since he wanted to cut down a tree like they always do.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 2

Daphne: “Nobody gets a tree anymore. It’s not cool.” Pbbtttt…..Ahem. I know of more than a dozen Christmas tree farms within an hour of me that are consistently sold out of trees, are riddled with tagged pre-bought trees or are waiting for more tree growth since they got wiped out the year prior. And places where you can buy pre-cut trees, like the local hardware stores, Walmart and clubs, always sell out too. I don’t recall any year in which tree farms were starving for sales or artificial trees were flying off the shelves for any reason.

For the record, no matter if you prefer artificial, pre-cut or fresh, an inflatable tree is just stupid.

Austin Bucks, who is one of those ‘owns everything in the city’ types – his company is even named ‘Own All Corp.’ – comes to Grandma asking to buy her store so he make it the hub of his new robot Christmas gift delivery sleigh.

Also, cursed screenshot.

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Grandma and Jake turn down his offer, which makes greedy Mel angry. I don’t really understand why. She’s clearly not the heir to the business (Grandma states she’ll never own it) and she doesn’t own any stake in it now, she’s just an employee. If Grandma sells the business, that really won’t benefit her at all. In fact, the dude will probably just fire everyone and hire new people for his sleigh thing.

How fitting that this next (pointless) song break happens to cover a topic I was talking about in my last AVAHS entry. Like I mentioned there, it’s weird that the special showed how much people seem to like fruitcake now when, back when I was a kid, it was a running thing for fruitcake to be a joke. Hard as a brick, tastes terrible and is used as a lazy holiday gift (Again, I’ve never had fruitcake so I’m not anti-fruitcake.) And now we have a song and segment of the movie where people are running in fear of Grandma’s “killer” fruitcake. It even has a warning on the label because of how bad it is.

If Grandma is such an amazing baker, to the point where her store basically rests on the income of her baked goods, why am I to believe she wouldn’t make good fruitcake?

Anyway, Mel poisons Grandma’s fruitcake (to make people sick, not kill them) so no one will ever shop at her store again and she’ll be forced to sell the store to Austin Bucks. Jake witnesses this, but doesn’t say anything. Also, I guess she’s banking on one tainted fruitcake being the thing that topples the business because that vial is really tiny and she only poisons one cake.

Meanwhile, Jake helps Grandma decorate the house for Christmas, she tucks him in and they talk about Jake’s Santa-existential crisis. Grandma believes in Santa, though, and tells him there’s nothing to worry about. Jake’s relationship to his Grandma is, admittedly, pretty sweet – so sweet I’m actually pretty glad this version doesn’t have her get downed in a vehicular homicide.

As she walks away and we zoom out on Jake’s sleeping head, before we even cut away….

♬ “GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER!” ♫

Geez, song, at least wait for the cutaway before you start blasting that.

They don’t even start it when she’s actually walking home from Jake’s house Christmas eve – they play the first few lines while Grandma’s getting ready to leave, pause it while she discusses leaving with the family and then, right as she’s leaving. She says she has to take cookies and cakes to some charity volunteers, even though we can plainly see that she’s only holding one fruitcake and no cookies. *shrug*

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♪ “She’d been drinking too much eggnog.”♩

Dad: “You’ve been drinking too much eggnog!” (With nary a lip flap)

So, obviously, this line in the song implies that Grandma’s been hitting the sauce and is too wasted to go out safely. In the movie, they establish that she has an egg allergy and she’s been sucking on eggnog all night. She must not have too severe of an allergy to it if she can stand drinking a ton of eggnog and not be affected for hours on end.

♬ “And we begged her not to go.” ♫

Grandpa: *On his hands and frickin’ knees* “Please don’t go!”

Mom: “We’re begging!”

If everyone’s so worried about Grandma not being able to walk outside safely, why is no one getting off their asses to walk with her? Or go in her place? And I mean this in response to the song and movie. What lazy twats.

♪ “But she forgot her medication…”♩

Grandma: *shakes empty medication bottle* “Besides, I forgot my medication at the store.”

It’s never really mentioned what Grandma’s medication is for in the song, but it can be surmised that it’s for some condition that impairs her judgment, mental condition or motor skills. In the movie, it’s allergy medication that she apparently doesn’t need because she’s still perfectly fine.

♬ “And she staggered out the door into the snow.”♫

“Staggered” is more implication that she was plastered, but in the movie, again, it’s like they expect you to not pay attention to the lyrics because she’s walking perfectly normally.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 5

So here’s a development. Jake actually witnesses Grandma get run over by Santa (we never actually see it happen on screen because I guess even that’s too violent for this movie.) Obviously, no one believes him, but then we get another development…..Grandpa watched it happen too!….And then….spent several moments just staring out the window…..And…he’s acting like it was….cool….He gives a long dramatic retelling of the events like he’s a sportscaster doing a replay.

……Okay, so it’s also a thing in the song that Grandpa’s kinda overly chill about his wife being dead – I mentioned that earlier – his apathy is part of the joke, like he was sick of her and was okay with it…..but here, Grandpa’s being a sadistic asshole. Here he WATCHES his wife get mowed down, gets all jazzed about it and just goes on like nothing happened. The fact that he watched this happen is also never brought up again, and even he doesn’t insist on searching outside for her. *More shrugs*

It’s kinda implied that he might be joking, but it’s also heavily implied that he’s not and we never really find out for sure.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 6

They open the door to check, but Grandma’s gone. Dad calls the cops at Jake’s insistence.

Dad: “Yes we’ve been drinking too much eggnog. *dial tone* Hello?” …..Wait, why does everyone drinking eggnog imply anything wrong with your mental state? Do you all have egg allergies or are you acknowledging the spiked eggnog thing?

Dad: “Eh, they’ll be out first thing in the morning.” How do you know that? They hung up before you were able to get out two sentences.

The next day….

Jake: “I saw Grandma get run over by a reindeer!”

Cop: “Sorry, son. Impossible. Right here in the manual. There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.” He said Grandma got run over by a reindeer, not Santa. Reindeer still exist.

Here’s where the song gets really nonsensical in regards to the movie’s story.

♪ “When we found her Christmas morning….At the scene of the attack.”♩

…………Grandma is missing. There’s no body in the snow. They, in fact, did the polar opposite of finding her Christmas morning.

They did not.

♬ “She had hoofprints on her forehead.”♫

There’s no one there. There’s no forehead to examine for hoof marks.

♪ “And incriminating Claus marks on her back.”♩

This line never once made sense. I get it, haha, Claus sounds like claws, which isn’t even good grammar in this context, but it still doesn’t make sense.

First of all, if this was just a hit-and-run, why is Santa himself leaving whatever marks he’s leaving on Grandma….do…do I even want to know?

Second, if she had hoofprints on her forehead, then she got hit from the front, which must mean she most likely fell backward, physics and whatnot. So how did any marks from Santa end up on her back?

Finally, as we’ve already gone over, there is no body here so where are these ‘Claus’ marks?

What we see in the movie is marks from a sleigh, hoofprints in the snow and an imprint of Grandma’s body.

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The cops are kinda assholes about the situation. I can’t tell if they’re being overly serious for comedic effect or if they’re just mocking Jake. I want to say the former, but they were doing the latter just a minute ago.

Cop: “Better look for the old broad.”

Were you not planning on doing that in the first place? Also, you might not want to say something like that in front of the ‘old broad’s’ family…

A year goes by with no Grandma in sight. The next part of the song occurs here, but they, oddly, don’t play the song. They recite a vastly changed version of the next verse. Here’s what was originally said.

♬ “Now we’re all so proud of Grandpa, he’s been taking this so well. See him in there watching football, drinkin’ beer and playing cards with cousin Mel.

It’s not Christmas without Grandma. All the family’s dressed in black. And we just can’t help but wonder, should we open up her gifts or send them back? (Send them back!)” ♫

Here’s what the movie says.

“Grandma’s Christmas gifts remained unopened. And people dressed in black. Grandpa tried to cope by playing cards with cousin Mel.”

That’s it.

I can understand them not wanting to show Grandpa being so blasé about his dead/missing wife, instead showing him more mourning and trying to deal with it….by playing a lot of cards with someone who would never play cards with him in the first place, but that sentiment is kinda lost when you remember the guy damn near cheered as he watched his wife get t-boned by a sleigh.

Changing the thing about her gifts was also understandable. You don’t want to open the gifts since Grandma’s just missing. She might want to open them when she gets back. And sending them back is just as bad.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 8
Looking real mournful, Daphne. Also, why would Mel dress in black?

I don’t get why they didn’t change the part about dressing in black. They’re ALL doing it, even Jake. Doesn’t that imply that they’ve given up hope and believe Grandma’s dead? And why are they doing it in September? They don’t dress in black all year round now, they’re wearing regular clothes outside of this scene, so….why?

The main issue I have with this overall change is, if they were fine taking the lyrics and fudging them like this for the sake of changing a scene in the movie…why not do that with the first verse? I get it in a way because it defeats the purpose of having a movie about a song if you don’t put the song in the movie, but if none of the song can be used in the movie due to content or not matching the scenes, why even bother?

Like I said, they don’t finish the song in the movie. Only when they play the full song in the credits do you hear the third verse. And if they were fine with playing the full song in the movie (the credits are still the movie) why did they feel the need to write it like this?

So, since we’ve gotten through the song parts and I’m already eight pages into this review and not even 20 minutes into this 50 minute long movie, what say we turbo through the rest?

Mel schemes to sell the store, we have one of the most random song breaks in history with the supposedly grieving widower Grandpa singing a song that clearly acknowledges Grandma is dead in the original version…..But it was a song specifically written for this movie….….*sigh*

AVAHS - GGRBAR 9

Since Grandpa’s a complete idiot and tool, he signs over the business to Mel as well gives her power of attorney, granting her total control over his financial affairs. Jake has one week before the deal is finalized to find Grandma since she’s the only one who can legally stop them.

Jake decides to send an email to Santa asking if he can reunite him with Grandma..

Santa: “Not a single letter from Cityville! It’s as if they’re too busy with their prefabricated and mass produced lives to need me anymore.” Subtle as a brick to the crotch, writers.

Also, maybe Santa would get a few letters from there if he waited until December – Who sends Santa a letter in SEPTEMBER!?

His email works, and you’ll never guess where Grandma is….The North Pole.

She got amnesia from the accident and has been spending her days being cared for by Santa’s people. Santa, the omniscient being, didn’t know who she was so he did the logical thing and just kidnapped her and held her for nine months. Just to be clear on this, he proves that he knows everyone, Grandma is seemingly the only other person in Cityville besides Jake who believes in Santa, and he explains to Austin Bucks later that he remembers exactly what he asked for on Christmas when he was six. There is absolutely no reason Santa would not know who Grandma is.

And even if he somehow didn’t, there are ways he could have easily found out, especially considering all of the ‘Missing’ posters her family put up around town. I would say he can’t reveal himself to other people so it’s not like he could go around asking who she is or something, but as we see later, he just waltzes through city without a care. Even when he learns of who she is, he doesn’t hop on his sleigh to give her back, he just says to send an email reply back to Jake. He either doesn’t give enough of a reindeer crap to try and actually figure out Grandma’s identity or the writers don’t give a single reindeer crap about being coherent.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 10

Santa’s right-hand elf, Quincy, decides to meet with Jake about it and they ET finger touch for literally no reason. *Shrugging intensifies* He brings Jake to the North Pole via song break about sharing I guess. Jake brings back still-amnesia’d-Grandma to help save the store.

However, like the idiots they are, they leave Grandma in the sleigh outside, presumably because her tummy’s upset from the ride….but she is literally the only who can do anything soooooo…..

Mel contracts her lawyer, who is, not kidding, named I.M. Slime, to make Grandma disappear again so the deal can happen. It works.

Santa relays the real story of what happened with Grandma. His reindeer were drawn to the fruitcake she was holding and he couldn’t control them, so they slammed into her.

We see Grandma with the hoofprints on her forehead, good job, but unlike when we see Jake witness the crash, and when we saw the crash in the opener, Grandma is now on her back, not her front. Santa decides to leave a note explaining what happened….in the snow I guess, because that’s where Mel found it before she hid it. Everyone in this movie is a goddamn idiot.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 11

AVAHS - GGRBAR 12

Still no incriminating Claus marks on her back, but I’ll let it pass because I really, really don’t want to know.

Austin: “I’m eager to see Grandma and tell her the sale is off.” But…you were the one buying it. If it gives you so much relief to not buy it….why did you ever try to buy it in the first place? They keep trying to flip flop on whether this guy is good or bad.

They realize Grandma is missing again, and since Santa just relayed that story he’s being charged with the disappearance of Grandma……in a case that has no actual evidence with a confession that was taken with no police present, wasn’t recorded, can easily be rescinded and Grandma is still missing, so this story could all be BS anyway.

Mel wants to additionally sue Santa over this, thinking she’ll get even more insanely rich with his money, which leads to a painful song break that is so difficult to get through it’s like the audio/visual version of chewing on tin foil for a minute and a half. They repeat the same line over and over, “sing” with their terrible voices, and “dance” in samba outfits. I’m not lying when I say I really, truly, with all my heart and soul, wanted to shut off the movie in the middle of that ‘song.’ But I have barely over ten minutes left, so might as well bite the tin foil and trudge through it.

AVAHS - GGRBAR 13

It takes them way too long to consider Mel responsible for Grandma’s second disappearance because, again, they’re all idiots. Mel’s holding Grandma in a cabin in the woods, Jake and Quincy break in, retrieve Grandma and get—

….….Okay, so you’re telling me Mel kept Santa’s note for nearly a year and she left it on the counter in the cabin under the same vial of poison she used in Grandma’s baked goods the year prior?

AVAHS - GGRBAR 14

Fuck it. I don’t care anymore. Grandma gets her memory back after eating her fruitcake, Jake proves Santa’s innocence, the poison Mel put in the fruitcake was what attracted the reindeer, no one bats an eye at Jake poisoning the jury to try and prove all of this, Mel admits to literally everything she did for no reason, and then she’s put in jail because she kidnapped Grandma, this trial is ridiculous and everyone’s stupid.

The end.

Bottomline: This movie is a trial of patience. It doesn’t even attempt to make sense, especially in regards to adapting the song, and some scenes are really trying my last nerve.

Granted, there are some moments that have jokes that sort of work, and Jake’s relationship with Grandma is kinda sweet, but other than that it’s a very poorly written, horrifically animated (Courtesy of Film Roman, so that’s a warning sign off the bat) holiday slog to sit through. The songs range from ‘Passable’ (Feels like Christmas) to ‘I can feel my soul rotting’ (Grandpa’s Gonna Sue the Pants Off of Santa), and they all have that same country/folksy twang to them, if that matters to you.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to try to make a movie about this song should be run over by a real reindeer. Usually, I would try to write ways the movie could be better, like how you could change certain plot elements or characters to improve things, but my mind just seizes up when it tries to think of ways to make a good Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer movie. I just don’t think the concept works enough to make one. It barely works enough to be a song.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Wakfu

Plot: Yugo is a mysterious child who was adopted by an innkeeper named Alibert. When Alibert found Yugo in the forest, a message was magically conveyed to him – This boy has incredible power; the ability to manipulate Wakfu, which, as of now, manifests itself in the creation of portals – and when he grows up he’ll need to embark on a journey to find his true family. Several years later, Yugo discovers his latent abilities and Alibert reveals the secret of his past to him so he can finally start his journey and find his real family.

Breakdown: This series is based on Wakfu, the MMORPG, which is a sequel to another MMORPG, Dofus. I’ve never played either game, though I have heard pretty good things about them.

That being said, I’ve also heard great things about this series. It’s even popular to call it France’s answer to Avatar the Last Airbender. I think my jury’s still out on that claim for now.

Yup yup, this is a French cartoon (and just to sate people who might bring this up – it can also qualify as an anime) And my experience with French animation is surprisingly limited, mostly contained to Totally Spies, Code Lyoko and Sonic Boom, which is weird because I love those shows…well….two of them.

Other than that, I’ve seen a handful of French short animations, which tend to be largely and heavily artsy. Not that that’s bad at all, but I have to be in the mood for that.

As an intro, this first episode does okay. It’s a bit too quick with the pacing, though. Especially near the end where they basically jump from ‘Oh Yugo has portal powers’ to ‘Yugo, you’re destined to embark on a journey to find your real family. I know because the magic floaty glowing text told me when I found you.’ in about five seconds.

It doesn’t really do proper world-building though. I was struggling to write the plot section because I wanted to include aspects of the world but I soon realized that they didn’t really explore it very much. I caught glimpses of dragons and magic and Wakfu, though they don’t really explain what Wakfu is – I know Alibert and Ruel are bounty hunters, but I don’t understand why their main weapons are shovels.

The main enemy is a robot guy thing named Nox, and he seemed really interesting and cool, but I’m kinda unclear on what he is considering this is a largely fantasy-based world yet he’s clearly a robot/cyborg thing.

Speaking of characters, I found myself liking mostly everyone so far. Yugo’s a cool little kid. He’s responsible, he’s always helping out his father and I like his comedic moments. I especially enjoyed his brief bits of banter with Alibert, such as when they’re being attacked by someone possessed by a demon, customers run out of the inn and Yugo starts panicking because they didn’t pay their bill, but Alibert assures him by saying he’ll remember their faces.

Alibert is pretty cool too. He seems like he’s a great dad and an equally great bounty hunter.

Ruel is greedy, but entertaining. He provides some good information and can seemingly hold his own in a fight, despite his age.

The only one I didn’t much care for was the mysterious cloaked dragon guy who left Yugo in the woods. However, I’m 99% sure that’s just because his voice acting coupled with his animation really throws me off. I was shocked to learn that he was voiced by a woman. No wonder the insanely deep voice sounded artificially distorted and weird.

Speaking of voices, apparently, despite the love of this show, most Wakfu fans vehemently suggest not watching the dub (Especially S3, which features an entirely new cast.) I kinda brushed it off because most people bark ‘Dub bad!’ without any real justification for it, but yeah….it was kinda justified. Half of the cast is perfectly fine. Not amazing, but fine. I especially liked Yugo and Nox’s acting. However, the other half is either unfitting to the point of the voice not really fitting any living being I can think of, like dragon dude, or the acting is really strange like they’re reading from a script that only has one to five words per page.

I’m not going to harsh on the dub too badly, however, because the English dub was produced by the series own producer, Ankama, done at Flix Facilities LLC. and it was funded through a Kickstarter. The third season, however, was co-produced and dubbed by Netflix.

I really liked the art in this series. It’s very stylized while still being fairly simplistic. The colors pop, the landscapes are quite beautiful and the characters are all very distinctive from each other with easily identifiable silhouettes, there some cool design choices in regards to hair and clothing. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I want Yugo’s hat thing.

However, the animation will take some time to really gel with me. This series is animated entirely in Flash, which, while being a joke to a lot of people, is still an incredibly useful animation program. And let me make it clear that I am very aware that there are many great and beautifully animated series that were animated in Flash. Some of my favorite cartoons were made with Flash.

The thing is, it’s also cheap and easy enough for most animators, no matter their experience or skill level, to use, which leads to the market being oversaturated in series that tend to look like trash and give the software as a whole a bad name.

Flash animated works tend to have what I like to call ‘Paper doll syndrome.’ Basically, you can instantly imagine where all of the hinges are when something is animated. Instead of moving naturally, it looks like a bunch of separate parts moving together because some unseen puppeteer wills it that way.

They also tend to have a weird bounciness to them. Like once they start moving, no matter how slight, once they stop their bodies feel the need to bounce in the other direction a bit for no reason.

Wakfu has both of these problems, but it not due to lack of skill, experience or budget. As far as I know, Wakfu’s budget was very high. The show is praised for its animation in spite of the aforementioned trends – and I can see why. It’s extremely dynamic, flows fairly well and the action scenes are done in a manner that is fast-paced without looking sloppy or weird. I definitely feel like characters, creatures and objects are interacting with their environment and that everything is real within their world.

A good chunk of my unease here is likely just a general dislike of the bouncy paper-dollness as a whole. It’s incredibly distracting to me and reminds me a lot of those cheap badly produced Flash shows that do that a LOT.

Hopefully, I just need to get used to it here.

The music is also REALLY good. I love the opening theme song, and the background music is very fitting and well-made.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Honestly, I’m really not expecting Avatar-level quality here, but I think it will be a fun watch, and I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series. I think I’ll switch to subbed, though.


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CSBS – Dave the Barbarian Episode 3: Girlfriend – Ned Frischman: Man of Tomorrow

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen1

Plot: 3A: Girlfriend – Dave starts dating an evil princess named Irmaplotz.

3B: Ned Frischman – Man of Tomorrow – A nerdy man from modern times gains an interdimentional zipper which allows him to travel to Dave’s era, where he plans to take over the world.

Breakdown: Episode 3A or Girlfriend had its ups and downs, but was a really solid episode. It was fun watching Dave try to be a little evil and Irmaplotz try to be nice and failing. Plus, this episode has the one joke most everyone remembers about the series where Dave ties a squirrel to a megaphone.

I liked how this episode was set up, because I was really dreading the trope of ‘falling in love with someone who turns out to be using them.’ Especially because we already had that plot in ‘Lula’s First Barbarian.’ Irmaplotz is still (half) evil and she does lay waste to the kingdom, but Dave is pretty much aware from the start that she’s evil and they try their best to work it out.

I also appreciated that Irmaplotz doesn’t completely cut off ties with Dave in the end. They can’t seem to be together, but she doesn’t promise a lifetime of revenge upon him or anything. They part on good terms and leave it open for her character to return.

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen2

Episode 3B or Ned Frischman – Man of Tomorrow is the strongest entry yet. It’s not bust a gut hilarious, but the story has great pacing, it has a very interesting concept, there are many clever jokes throughout.

I think the whole ‘enslaved by addiction to video games’ thing is a bit weak, but it’s not that bad. Plus, you have some really cool additions like Richard Horvitz (Daggett from Angry Beavers and Zim from Invader Zim) playing Ned and Twinkle the Marvel Horse, who is basically a My Little Pony doing a Christopher Walken impression. If you didn’t know you needed that in your life, you’re welcome.

Next Episode….

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Danny Phantom S01 Ep 04: Attack of the Killer Garage Sale

CSBS DP EP4

Plot: Danny finally has a chance to be in with the popular kids when Jazz coerces Dash into inviting him to his big party. While he’s enjoying a taste of popularity, Sam and Tucker don’t enjoy being ignored and blown off by Danny. In an effort to get money for new cool clothes for the party, Danny decides to sell all of his dad’s old tech in the garage. However, it’s been tainted with ghost goo from battling Technus – a ghost who controls all machinery and gadgetry.

All of the tech he sold starts coming to life, controlled by Technus, and Danny will need a little help from his friends to take him down.

Breakdown: This episode was alright. It was half and half. I had my problems with the main plot because it’s just such a tired sitcom plot to have the dorky protagonist suddenly become slightly popular, ignore and abandon his non-popular friends only to discover, gasp, that the popular kids are jackasses and he wishes he were unpopular and back with his friends again.

There was also more cringey slang this time around, and I had to pause and rub my temples when Sam used the term ‘vaporware’ to describe a regular ol’ piece of shitty software. Tucker, as a tech guy, should’ve called her out on that.

Also, Danny’s resolution to Dash’s problem of ‘My computer’s being overloaded with schoolwork (?)’ is to replace the motherboard and install a new OS. Not only is that all sorts of wrong, but I sincerely doubt Dash would have the know-how to do that on his own.

However, I did like the revelation that Sam is filthy rich, she just chooses to keep it a secret to not be treated differently. Says a lot about Sam as a person because she could easily be popular too if she wanted to be. It’s also funny how she was clearly going to offer to buy the clothes for Danny, but stopped herself when he blew them off again.

Technus is also a really great enemy because he not only has ghost powers, but he also has technopathy and makes creative robots with junk. He’s pretty funny and can definitely stand his own in a fight.

All in all, I liked this episode. The plot with the popularity is moreso worn out than it is something that really bothers me, but Danny was a bit of a jerk in that part, as expected, though.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next Episode….

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Pixar’s Lamp – Finding Nemo (2003)

Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: A clown fish named Marlin had it all. The love of his life, Coral, a new home in the anemone and a clutch of fish eggs nearly ready to hatch. His perfect life comes to a grinding halt when a barracuda suddenly attacks. Coral, in an effort to rescue her babies, is killed and the eggs are eaten anyway. Marlin wakes up to find everything gone except for one lone egg that was damaged in the attack. He names the fish Nemo – a name chosen by Coral right before she died.

Some time passes, and Nemo has grown up enough to go to school. However, considering past events and the bad fin Nemo was left with as a result of the attack, Marlin has become an incredibly overbearing and protective father. It takes nearly everything he has just to let him go to school.

Marlin catches him wandering in open water with his classmates, trying to play a game of Chicken to see who can swim closest to a nearby boat. Marlin is outraged and demands that Nemo come home, but Nemo, sick of his father’s restrictions, decides to swim right up to the boat and touch it in defiance.

A scuba diver soon grabs Nemo and makes off with him. Marlin is too slow to keep up. He ends up in the fish tank of a dentist and learns from the other fish that the dentist plans on giving Nemo to his niece, Darla – an obnoxious girl who killed her last fish by shaking the bag too much.

Meanwhile, Marlin and the forgetful Dory set off on an adventure to find Nemo while Nemo and the fish from the tank try to break him out before Darla gets her mitts on him.

Breakdown: The best animated movies are ones where adults and children alike can enjoy it at the same level. The best animated movies are ones in which both adults and children alike walk away having learned something. The best animated movies are ones like this.

Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies. It’s incredibly well-written, has fantastic characters, is very funny as well as being emotionally impacting, and it never talks down to its audience. Some movies you enjoy as a kid and you reconsider watching them as an adult, but worry that you’ll end up focusing on all the goofy or stupid parts and realize that the movie wasn’t as good as when you first watched it.

This is definitely not one of those movies. In fact, I’d say this is one of those rare movies where you gain an entirely new appreciation for it when you become an adult. It makes sense, because Finding Nemo seems intentionally split to relate to both adults and kids by separating the movie between what’s happening with Marlin and what’s happening with Nemo.

In Marlin’s story, he’s hanging around with Dory, who has short-term memory loss. She’s trying to help him find Nemo, but her condition leaves her to being an annoyance to him sometimes, and, like Nemo, he starts to get overbearing with her too because he doesn’t trust that she can do any of the things she claims she can do since she has such a terrible memory.

Marlin’s journey is all about realizing that he can’t protect Nemo at all times, and, honestly, he shouldn’t, because that’s bad for Nemo’s growth as a person (fish?). Dory said it best.

“Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him….because nothing would ever happen to him.”

A parent protecting their child is only natural. A parent becoming overprotective after what Marlin went through is completely understandable. Here, he has to realize that his fears are getting in the way of not only Nemo’s life, but also his happiness. If you protect him from everything that is perceived as possibly bad, you’re also shielding him from any good experience he could possibly get. And sometimes you need to experience bad things, even pain, to have a truly fulfilling life.

I may not be a parent, but I definitely understand the negative effects of having a sheltered childhood and overprotective parents.

While we’re on the topic of Dory, she is just as funny as I remember her, even if she did get a tiny bit annoying in spots. And I am so glad they didn’t try to force in some sort of weird romance between her and Marlin.

Nemo’s side of the story is not only about becoming independent, but also overcoming his own fears and limitations. Simultaneously, it’s about him understanding his father’s stance. While Nemo is more than willing to try and prove his father wrong in what he can and cannot do, he still holds hesitation rooted in his bad fin. We never see it hindering him much, but the fact that he has it makes him feel like he sometimes can’t do things.

One of the most important scenes with Nemo was the failed escape attempt. After gaining some self-confidence in his abilities by the gritty Gill, Nemo is quickly recruited to be a part of Gill’s newest escape plan – which involves jamming the filter system for the tank and swimming out of the narrow tube.

Everything goes according to plan until the pebble that was being used to jam the system suddenly slips, sucking Nemo down into the rotor. The other fish manage to save him, but Nemo is very shaken by what happened and Gill gives up all escape plans out of shame.

This scene is especially important because it teaches Nemo that there was a reason behind Marlin’s concerns. The world is dangerous and you do have to be cautious within it. You could argue that the incident with the boat did the same thing, but this is a little different.

Gill gave him confidence in his abilities, whereas the boat incident was fueled by defiance for Marlin. He wasn’t concerned with his abilities or the danger at hand because he was too focused on defying his father, like most kids do. It was an immature thing to do.

In this case, Nemo was focused on getting them all out of there, escaping Darla and being reunited with his dad. He still had reservations, but he was willing to give it a try. This is more mature and is a sign of actual bravery.

In the end, he manages the entire operation by himself after finding out that his father was braving terrible danger, including sharks, to find him. His father facing his own personal fears to find him gave Nemo a more healthy dose of confidence and clarity that allowed him to pull off this feat.

You could say Marlin and Gill are pretty good opposites – especially as father figures. Marlin is an embodiment of the dangers of living too cautiously while the scars on Gill’s face from a failed escape attempt and the fact that he nearly got Nemo killed doing the same make him an embodiment of what happens when you’re overly headstrong. In the end, they all find a good balance.

This film is also a rarity in that there’s not a single side character that I disliked. While some segments could be classified as filler, I was always more than entertained enough to not care. The sharks, the synchronized school of fish, the seagulls and especially Crush and Squirt were all very funny and great to watch. Some of the fish in the tank were a little weak on the comedy, such as Bubbles (His shtick is he likes bubbles…) Gurgle (germaphobe) and Bloat (a kinda gross pufferfish voiced by Brad Garret.)

If I had to say anything negative, some of the jokes are a bit too juvenile and there was nary a single human character who wasn’t despicable. The only two main human characters are the dentist, who is annoying and gross, and Darla, who is an obnoxious little brat. I get that kids do indeed do this, but I about wanted to smack her upside the head when she started violently shaking the bag Nemo was in while yelling “FISHY! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING!?” The kid watching all of the commotion from a little window, thinking the dentist is torturing her, is pretty funny, though.

Also, there are way too many death fakeouts. Nemo has a grand total of five death fakeouts. Dory and Marlin have one together, and Dory kinda has one on her own (It’s more like a ‘severe injury’ fakeout)

Finding Nemo has aged wonderfully in the art and animation department. 15 years have passed, and I am still in awe of the attention to detail and the beautifully fluid motions of the fish. This movie does an outstanding job at really making you feel like you’re in a vast ocean, and I give them double props for this because underwater animation is insanely difficult.

Pixar is also noticeably better at making human character designs at this point.

The music is good and fitting, but a little forgettable.

The voice acting is fantastic. I loved Willem Dafoe as Gill and Alexander Gould did a great job as Nemo.

All in all, I still love Finding Nemo as much, if not more, as when I was a kid. It’s a timeless (outside of one mention of 2003) film that is a fantastic ride for adults and children alike. It’s funny, emotional, full of great action and just a joy to watch. You’re truly missing out if you don’t see it at least once.

Recommended Audience: There’s quite a bit of death. Either characters dying or talking about death. This movie probably has the biggest Pixar body count if we count every one of Marlin’s kids. It’s all very well handled, however. There are no dead bodies….well, one, and the language is very tame. It’s not like that scene in The Little Mermaid where Sebastian watches fish being slaughtered. Other than that, nothing really. They avert saying a swear once, but that’s the worst of it. 6+